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You Can’t Read Them All

For a while I was going through a bit of a block and struggling with both writing and keeping up with reading blogs.  I could not figure out what the problem was- it wasn’t that I was uninterested and it definitely wasn’t a lack of material…but I just couldn’t find the motivation to complete a post.  Or to keep up with my reader.

And then it hit me. 

I was reading WAY too many blogs.  And because of that, my own writing was suffering.  As I began to look at the blogs I was reading I found they fell into four different categories.

Blogs with connections- In the almost two years that I have been writing this blog, I have made some amazing connections with people from all over the world.  It has brought so much to my life and I am thankful for these friendships in the same way I am the ones in my “real” life.  I love reading your posts, I get excited when something great happens for you and sad when you have a disappointment.  I look forward to your comments and appreciate your responses to mine.  I think about you when you are going through a rough time, channel your energies when I am racing and lean on you for support.  I am grateful for this group of wonderful bloggers.

Informational Blogs- These blogs are written mostly for informational purposes.  I read them to gather information and to be a continuous learner.  I don’t typically leave comments on these blogs, although when I do they are almost always returned.  I don’t expect or anticipate forming relationships with the writers behind these blogs but genuinely enjoy their posts.

The “Popular” Blogs- The epiphany that started this whole post happened actually while I was reading a blog I don’t actually visit much but happened to be reading.  The post had a lot to do with how many followers the writer had, how many visits their blog gets and was basically a self-love fest.  I found myself extremely annoyed by the post but then remembered that the reason I hardly ever read this specific blog is for that exact reason.  But then why was it still on my reader?  Why was I still reading a blog that clearly irritated me?  I hate to admit it but part of the reason was because I wanted to be acknowledged.  So even though my questions went unanswered and they never bothered to visit my blog, I kept going back.  Less and less over time but nonetheless, I was still going back.  And it wasn’t just this blog either- my reader was clogged with blogs that I spent time reading/commenting with nothing in return.  It was like high school all over again- you know, like when you try to be part of some group and they just won’t let you in no matter how hard  you try.  (I won’t mention the blog [so don’t ask] but every person who reads blogs knows the kind of blog I am talking about.  There are many of them out there.)

Blogs I’m not very interested in- In just the same way that some people aren’t interested in my blog, there are ones that do not interest me.  I make a valiant effort to visit every blogger that comments and check out their blogs.  Usually, I will put them on my reader and then over a matter of weeks determine if it is a blog I want to keep with or not.  Just like in “real life” either a connection gets made, or it doesn’t.  For quite a few months though, I was keeping all of the blogs on my reader even though I genuinely wasn’t interested in them all.

Only days after I came to these conclusions, Rick passed away.  Rick truly was one of my favorite bloggers.  He was sincere, kind, supportive and responsive to all commentors.  He valued his readers and genuinely cared about their well-being.  I miss Rick and I miss his blog.  But his passing has already taught me about being a better blogger.  I took a look back at some of our email exchanges (wherein we talked about some of these issues) and decided to make some changes. 

What it all boils down to is this- I don’t care if I have 12 or 200 followers.  But I want them all to be genuine.  I don’t want anyone to feel like they have to read my blog.  I don’t just want 300 followers just to have them.  Likewise, I don’t have to follow every blog.  And I shouldn’t feel bad about it.  So I went ahead and took my blogroll off my blog.  And I cleared out all the blogs on my reader that gave me anxiety, irritated me or did not personally interest me.  It was like cleaning out a closet of clothes I never wear or don’t like…it took some time to get it done but now that I did, I feel so much better!

I feel like now I can be the blogger I really want to be- the one that devotes time to the blogs that genuinely interest her with the writers with whom I have formed connections or feel like I will connect with down the line.  And along the way if I find new, inspiring and amazing blogs then that is a great thing.  And if at some point a blog I currently read finds its way into one of the last two categories above, than I will remember that it is okay to stop reading.  At the end of the day, you can’t read them all!   

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32 thoughts on “You Can’t Read Them All

  1. Well said Jill. I think I have 3 readers (if you’re still reading) and I’m ok with that. 🙂 I’ve been having fun with my blog so far and don’t plan to end it anytime soon, despite my lack of readership. The few connections I’ve made have been good so far.
    I’ve gone through and deleted blogs from my reader for some of the same reasons you’ve mentioned here. I don’t blame you for scaling back- especially now that you have 2 jobs!

    • I think, honestly, a lot of people feel the way I do whether it is something the express or not. And of course I still read yours 🙂

  2. Yes! I know how you feel. I think we’ve already discussed this. Anywho, I have to purge my Reader every now and then too. I try so hard to read/comment on everyone who does the same for me. I had to make two groups – one for closer friends who I communicate with often and one for not-as close but still comment on each others blogs most days. And of course I am open to promoting or even demoting people as they make more/less of an effort. I am not trying to spen my life on the Internet commenting on blogs all day!

    I am wondering if you and Rick discussed the same annoying blog that he and I discussed haha…

  3. WOW, you expressed yourself so honestly and I had just been thinking about this on my run yesterday!! Rick and I had talked about this same thing and YES, just like Lindsay, he was quick to put down the give away blogs AND the one she mentioned above. I wouldn’t say that I want to demote anyone nor put another blogger down because, hey, we all have our reasons for blogging(business?promotion?out let?etc.)however, I’m sure we’d all agree that our time is precious and I choose to read uplifting blogs that make me think, make me happy and or inspire…like yours!! Stay real, girl!

    • oh by “demote” i didn’t mean like TELL someone they sucked or anything. i meant as far as how my folders are organized in Google Reader. I have 1 for “friends” and one for “not-as-close blog friends”. As I get to know people more (or less) i’ll move them from one folder to another. That’s all i meant by “demoting”. I’m not going around telling people I hate their blog!

  4. I’ve been struggling with this same thing. I had a lot of readers (to me, it was a lot – maybe 10) who didn’t comment much, and mostly were my friends or friends of friends. Then, I got into the BlogHer network and this whole thing where I started looking at OTHER blogs. And I wanted followers. And I started to worry about posting things that weren’t about running. I used to post about EVERYTHING and I don’t anymore. Now, It’s gotten SO HARD for me to blog about anything, running or not, because I spend so much time reading.

    And I feel like I’ve lost a bunch of my former readers, especially the non-running ones, because my blog isn’t as “fun” as it used to be. *I* don’t like my blog anymore. It’s frustrating. And then I know what you mean, there are other bloggers with hundreds of followers, and you comment because you want to be like them… I’m with you. I was so mad one day because one of those had started to follow me when I did a giveaway and then I noticed a week later that my follower count had gone down, and I have so few followers that I knew that she had unfollowed me. And I was like WTF??

    I need to do what you’re doing. ASAP.

    As a separate issue, I wondered if you follow this blog:
    http://thegreatfitnessexperiment.blogspot.com/
    I was reading it the other day and it so hit home for me, and since my issues with not wanting to diet anymore were familiar to you I though you’d enjoy. Here are a couple specific posts to check out:

    http://thegreatfitnessexperiment.blogspot.com/2010/10/intuitive-eating-dilemma-how-to-eat.html

    http://thegreatfitnessexperiment.blogspot.com/2010/09/have-you-ever-hid-healthy-habit.html

    http://thegreatfitnessexperiment.blogspot.com/2010/08/i-eat-everything.html

    http://thegreatfitnessexperiment.blogspot.com/2010/05/junes-great-fitness-experiment-eating.html

    That’s just a few, but I’ve been really enjoying going back in time and reading what she’s been writing about Intuitive Eating. I’m so not ready for it just yet, but I am trying it here and there and seeing how it goes. And I want to get the book she’s reading – Women, Food and God.

    Anyway, I think you’ve inspired me to clean up my blog roll.

    • Thank you for the honest and thoughtful response. It can be difficult- I won’t lie…even before posting this, I thought “I might lose readers” but then remembered the whole purpose was about PEOPLE, not NUMBERS. You’ll find your way Kim- and you offer great informtation; I love your linky-loo’s and I am always interested in your race reports!

      Thanks for the links, I will be sure to check them out!

      • As inspiration, I went back in and made two categories for the running blogs in google reader – one called “Running-Comments” and one called “Running- No pressure” I think this will work for me 😉

  5. I would totally agree with you on this one! There are a some I feel more invested in as a person and then other that are just for gathering more info. I really don’t worry about if I go for sometime without posting and just really appreciate whoever does follow me..THANKS!
    the way I see its just as much for me as anyone else…more so. It helps me just sometimes get something, think out loud or just share the things in my life..and that is fine with me!

  6. i have to agree with you. i find that i’m following some blogs which i really don’t care about. not that they don’t comment back, b/c i don’t always comment even tho i’m reading, but i just don’t find them that interesting. i have to say, i’d love to comment back to every one who comments on my blog and even more so, i’d love to read everyone’s blog, but i just can’t. there’s not enough time to address every comment/follower. but it doesn’t mean i dont appreciate the time everyone takes to read my silliness.

  7. Oh I’m so with you, especially on the popular ones. I know that most of them try to make a very inclusive atmosphere, but it’s still hard to read some of them. I’m also not a huge fan of some blogs that like to randomly change typefaces. The designer in me is all like “what.”

    I’m such a bad commenter/replier that I don’t think of comment replies as an issue when it comes to my reading. But I enjoyed reading what you had to say it because it gives me more insight into what other readers like! 🙂

    And you’re right, it totally comes down to the quality and not quantity of readers. I’d much rather get 1-3 comments that are relevant than 50+ that are like “go you!” etc.

  8. What a wonderful post! We think so similar, it is crazy. Like you, I love the interaction and come to expect it… when people NEVER acknowledge me, it makes me crazy (and what makes me evern more crazy is how many people WORSHIP those bloggers). It makes me feel like a loser.

    I do the reader purge quite often and it makes me feel good. It’s funny though, sometimes I lose connections with bloggers I used to love!

  9. I have to agree but I know I am guilty of a few things myself. Sometimes life gets in the way and commenting just doesn’t happen on all the blogs I read. Plus I know that not everyone is going to love every post I put up but I guess its important to remember that you started the blog for you and not everyone else.

  10. It’s soooooooooo nice to purge out some blogs every once in a while. I try to do it every 2-3 months. And blogging for the #s or whatever, will always make you burn out. Blog for you, because that’s what people come to your blog for.

  11. LOVE THIS! It is so true! I’m glad you did some housecleanning. I often feel over whelmed by the amount of blogs I have, too. And only make a point to reach a few everyday or at least 4-5 a week. The ones that are hard are the ones that blog every.single.day. I can’t keep up.
    I love quality over quanity. Which is why I keep coming back. You’re informative, caring, funny and always up to date. Keep it up girlie!!

  12. yessss i totally feel you. i really try hard to comment on people’s blogs that comment on mine but sometimes i just can’t keep up. i have my core group that i stay on top of and if i have extra time i try to get out and read everyones! its just hard and time consuming on top of everything else. i need to purge my reader, i keep it very organized but there are some that i just dont read so i dont know why they are in there.

  13. I totally know what you’re talking about too!! Just recently I took some blogs off of my blogroll that I just didn’t feel like I needed anymore. I don’t know why, but I kind of felt bad about it. How crazy is that?

  14. So true… I have way too many blogs in my reader and there are times where I feel like just clicking “Mark all as read” because it feels like pressure to see that unread number up in the 100’s. And like you, there are several in there that I’ve subscribed to just because “everyone else does it”. But there are other people’s blogs (you’re included in this) that I will hang on to their posts in my reader if I feel like I don’t have time to read the posts and give them proper attention so I can read them later on.

    But I think you’ve just inspired me to pare down some of my subscriptions!

  15. I am so guilty of following everyone that follows me and then I FEEL guilty because I can’t possibly keep up with them all or comment every day and basically end up just feeling guilty 24/7. We’ve talked about this subject before and I actually think I may need to do what you just did, go through and organize and prioritize. Great post chica!!!

  16. Yes, yes and yes…I totally understand and I feel the same way! Blogging is a full time job:) I have so many blogs on my roll too! Half of them have not commented in months! I tend to leave comments for the people who leave me comments and who I have made some type of connection with. I get it:)

    Anyway, I hope that I am still on your list:) Love and hugs Jill!

  17. I feel the same way…but I categorize mine a little differently. I have my ‘must read’ list and my local blogger list and then there are others that I read for various reasons and then the … blogs. I can’t possibly keep up with everyone who follows me, but I do try to check out blogs of new followers because you never know what you’ll find. Sometimes there is a diamond out there.

  18. First of all: you won’t lose me as a reader as I love your blog.

    I totally understand what you’re saying. I’m struggling from time to time to with this.

    I stopped following the very popular blogs of those who wants the readers but don’t take the effort to check my blog out. That’s okay but don’t expect me to spend time on their blog in that case. My life is busy enough without the blogging and I’d rather give my time to someone whom’s blog I really appreciate and who every now and then visits mine.

    I’ve seperated the blogs I follow in two, in my popular are 18 blogs of people who’s blog I always read and comment on and who visit my blog. Needless to say you’re on that list.

    The other list is with blogs I found and look interesting but of which I’m not sure if I will keep on liking them. Or with bloggers who commented once back after I left a comment but I’ve never seen back on my blog after that. This list is cleaned up frequently by me.

    But my favorite list is consistent and hardly ever changes. When I don’t have much time those are the blogs I read.

    Then there are the information/running/news sites I have in my reader. Those are the first to be marked as read in case I don’t have time.

    Long story short: I do hope you still will visit my blog in the future but if you don’t I will still be visiting yours because as said before: I really like yours!

  19. You have made some good points. I have done this but it has been awhile. I need to filter again. I have a fair amount of followers but I like those who return comments and make that connection. I do have a couple who never comment but I really like their blogs.

  20. the # of blogs i read fluctuates constantly. and now that i have almost no time to do it i am down to just a very few. i subscribe to yours so i get it in my email. as far as my google reader, i have it separated into folders based on “type” of blog it is, but again i’m constantly pruning. lol. i think it’s just a fit thing. it may be a good fit to read for awhile and then later it might not be. and if you have oodles of time, there’s no harm in reading tons of blogs, unless of course you should be doing other things.. 🙂 happy friday. great topic.

  21. I agree with you. When I first started blogging, I read a lot of blogs partly because it was so new to me and I was excited to read so much. But there is just not enough time to keep everything up. So now I pretty much read the blogs of people who I find myself wondering “I wonder what they’re up to” and not much else.

  22. As you can see I rarely get to read posts the day the well, post. What happens is if your post is listed in my little reader window on my (stupid)smart phone, I read – rarely comment from my phone too hard! then once I am at work I read several most week days and which ever ones are, you guessed it, listed first in my reader.
    On weekends I sometimes play a bit of catch up but I usually miss quite a few. I admit, there are some that I do not read anymore at all but I haven’t click to stop following. Quilt? Many of those blogs don’t follow me. But what I really care about is who is reading! I’d rather have 10 people reading me most days then 300 who “follow” because I had a giveaway. In fact, my next giveaway might include a challenge to dump the blogs in your reader that you do not actually read. I wonder who would have the guts to do it?
    Sorry I am not a great commenter. I wish I was better – for everyone that I actually read. I spread myself too thin like most of us.
    In the end, we should really only concern ourselves with writing for ourselves. I want to record my boring days, my running love, my kids craziness all so that someday they can read all this silliness here and know me a little bit better by what I have lived.

  23. I just looked and I follow 66 blogs. It seems like a lot, but I actually read them. I check my dashboard and read who ever updates. I don’t go out of my way to read the ones that don’t update regularly – I figure they’ll show up when they do. And I don’t go back and check blogs after I’ve been away from the computer a few days since it’s just too much work. I only started blogging a few months ago so I’m still excited to get followers (my husband laughs at how excited…). I like contests so I’ve entered (and won) my fair share. Generally, though, I’ll have to like the site before I’ll enter.

    The only thing that I’ve noticed doing now is being more selective about who I follow. I like to follow: a) Canadian runners, b) runners who’ve taken the time to comment on my blog as long as I find their blog interesting, and c) bloggers who are interesting and who don’t have a lot of followers (since I get new-follower highs I figure others do to). I haven’t joined too many blogs lately because I’m happy with the ones I read now.

    I’m a stay-at-home-mum and since I take my toddler running with me blogging is pretty much my me time. I have time for it though – I can totally see how it can get pretty overwhelming and time consuming.

    • I agree that it is exciting to get followers and comments- I felt that way in the beginning and still love getting new comments…but as I started to blog more seriously, I found myself feeling more serious about it in general.

      I think, as far as give-a-ways…to each their own. Sometimes I enter, and sometimes I don’t. Depends on the rules and my mood 🙂

  24. Pingback: Life Update- I Do Actually Run! « Finishing is Winning

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